It is now abundantly clear – if it were not already – that truthfulness and fairness mean absolutely nothing to the media establishment when it comes to reporting about the Catholic Church and sex abuse. Indeed, the journalism school at Columbia University has now bestowed a prestigious "Alfred I. duPont – Columbia University Award" to Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) for its phony radio series, "Betrayed by Silence."
We previously noted, in all of our years of analyzing the media and the Catholic Church sex abuse story, we have not witnessed journalism as breathtaking in its dishonesty and maliciousness as the MPR series.
A need to check the facts at ColumbiaAfter receiving word of its award, MPR "managing editor" Chris Worthington claimed that "Betrayed by Silence" had been "well-documented and carefully reported." As our research clearly uncovered, however, Worthington's claim is simply comical.
Even a cursory examination of MPR's "Betrayed by Silence" would reveal its gross factual errors and distortions.
For example, a recurring theme throughout "Betrayed by Silence" is that Church officials always aggressively sought to "protect their own" by shielding criminal actions by priests from law enforcement.
Yet when one looks to a 2004 letter in MPR's own files by Rev. Kevin McDonough, who served for many years as vicar general under two different archbishops in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis and counseled numerous abuse victims in his job during his tenure, one tellingly reads:
"[In] my message to you last Friday, I emphasized that reports about even-potentially-criminal behavior should be brought immediately to the police."
McDonough's words are hardly indicative of someone looking to criminally "cover-up" crimes by clergy and "protect his own." In fact, McDonough's letter is proof that Baran's malicious caricature of McDonough and the archdiocese is flat-out false.
We call on Columbia University to actually re-review MPR's series (if it even reviewed the series to begin with) and then revoke its award for this bogus and bigoted journalism.